We invite you to take a peek into part of what makes the Uncharted Veterinary Community so unique: our members! We sat down to interview some of the amazing people who have joined us on our amazing journey since the first conference in 2017. Our next interview is with Dr. Mike Cao of Southern California! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am the CEO of Irvine Valley Veterinary Hospital, located in Southern California. I graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012, with the goal of owning my practice within 5 years of graduation. Before I started on this veterinary journey, I was a mixed media artist. I have always had an interest in business. While in high school, I started my own apparel company with my own silkscreen designs. I graduated from UC Irvine in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, and eventually started my own graphic design company. There are more similarities than you think between running a veterinary practice and selling t-shirts. I live with Brittany Alfino, the manager of our practice (and a member of Uncharted), our 5 year old daughter Vivianna, and our 3 dogs: Sheeba, Molly, and Lola. We are expecting our second child later this year!
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
I have never followed the status quo, and wanted to find a group of people that challenged traditional thinking in order to help me differentiate my practice from other practices.
What is your current work related goal?
I am working hard to get us to be a 24/7 ER plus general practice in our new facility by the end of the year.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
I allowed the staff to collaborate and make decisions on hospital policies and procedures without my input.
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Look for reasons to say yes rather than look for reasons to say no.
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
There have been many, but I will go with the most recent. I did not plan well for the 2020 UVVC. I ended up having to work swing shifts throughout the entire conference. To be honest I wasn't sure if I would get much out of it. I came into the Leading With Your Voice workshop with Andy Roark a little late but posted my goal anyway. He ended up spending much of the session breaking down the problems and solutions with me so that I had a clear plan for how to approach our next staff meeting. You would not get this 1:1 interaction with the speaker at any other conference. It was invaluable, and it was not the only time I really felt heard at Uncharted.
Have you ever worked outside of the veterinary field? What was it like?
I was a graphic designer. In many ways the communication and emotional intelligence required to be successful is similar. You have to understand your client's needs and wants, and translate that into a vision, and then translate that vision into something tangible.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Mike by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!